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Money magazine Managing Editor Frank Lalli was saying over lunch at the Sea Grill in Rock Center that while ad pages are down slightly for the year to date (618 to 589), revenue is up 2.2% (to $52 million plus) and newsstand sales are soaring, up 34% versus the period last year. And despite boosting the basic sub rate to $39.95, in a very competitive category, Money is averaging a 60% sell-through for the first half. Patricia Straus says ad category gains in '96 are in the core biz, mutual fund and brokerage advertising, as well as in insurance.

Single funniest anecdote of the summer: Writing in The New York Observer about a new bio of Noel Coward, John Heilpern recalls the time Noel was visiting Lord and Lady Olivier and their 5-year-old daughter "saw a male dog sniffing a female dog in the street. She asked Uncle Noel what they were doing. `The doggie in front,' he replied, `has suddenly gone blind and the other one has kindly offered to push him all the way to St. Dunstan's."'

Big doings at Shape magazine, which will mark its 15th anniversary in September with its largest ever issue, 103 ad pages compared to 48 last September. Wow! Peter Miller's the senior VP-advertising and his newly promoted VPs are Agnes Lancaster (who manages NY) and Steve Meisner (Chicago).

Michael Clinton informs me Hillary Koota has been upped to corporate creative services director for all 14 Conde Nast magazines. And good for her.

Bill Hughes reports the Marine Corps Gazette closed the first half up 44% in net revenue over last year and "the next six months looks just as strong."

Fitness mag is doing its first-ever ad campaign. Griffin Bacal's the agency.

New art director for GQ is Kay Spear Gibson, who'd been at American Health.

Forbes FYI named a new ad manager, Sherry Shorten. And Forbes Inc. hired Amy Tsui Luke as director of business development.

Jack Lippert of The Washingtonian mag sends along a clip from The Washington Times to the effect that exactly one year after they dedicated that Korean War Memorial in the Capital, only 32 of 80 light bulbs illuminating it are working. The American Battle Monuments Commission, the National Parks Service and the Army Corps of Engineers are debating whose problem this is. Meanwhile, the bulbs are out.

Hippocrates magazine (doctors read it) increases frequency from 10 to 12 issues a year in 1997.

And Health (a Time Inc. publication) is boosting its rate base from 900,000 to a million.

In Atlanta, during the Games, a survey of concierges at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel found the most frequently asked question by Olympic visitors: Does anyone in Atlanta sell Pepsi?

What about it, are Bela Karolyi's young gymnasts outfitted with sprigs of wolfbane?

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